It was beginning to look a little bit scary for Colorado Avalanche fans after a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night put the team at 0-4-2 in their last six games. However, everything finally went right for the Avalanche on Friday night as they blew out the New York Rangers 6-1 for their first victory since December, 19.
The Avalanche were able to take advantage and score on three of the 10 power play opportunities that were given to them which included a five-minute boarding major on former Avalanche forward Cody McLoed mere minutes into the contest.
Forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen as well as defenseman Tyson Barrie all had three-point nights for the first time in a while.
Rantanen’s two goals and one assist puts the 2015 first-round pick at 65 points on the season and only four behind current scoring leader Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. MacKinnon’s goal and two assists puts the 2013 first-overall pick at 63 points on the year and back into third in the league in scoring. Barrie’s three assists helped propel him to 278 career points with the Avalanche which is a franchise record among defensemen according to the Colorado Avalanche website.
Although forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Alexander Kerfoot also found their names on the scoresheet. The most notable highlight was by rookie defenseman Ryan Graves who scored his first career NHL goal off of a juicy rebound in front of the goal crease.
Team wise, the Avalanche were able to dominate in the shooting department as they outshot the Rangers 47 to 25. Despite only facing 25 shots, Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made several terrific stops throughout the night including a flashy glove save off of Rangers left winger Jimmy Vesey during a penalty shot in the third period.
Overall, it was a decisive victory that the Avalanche desperately needed in order to regain confidence. The 6-1 win finished off their four-game home stand in which they concluded with a subpar record of 1-1-2. Despite the recent slump, the Avalanche’s 20-14-8 record and 48 points is still good for third best in the Central Division.
After three days off, the Avalanche will gear up for their longest road trip of the season. The five-game stretch kicks off with back to back games against the Central Division leading Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night and Pacific Division leading Calgary Flames on Wednesday evening.